Infant Visual Perception
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Infant growth moves from the general to the specific. This is an important facet of human development It rests upon the principle of generalized movement by the infant directed toward more specific actions and precision as time passes. This can be seen readily in the infant whose movements are random at first when attempting an act, then becoming more exact and deliberate, from flailing arms to more specific hand control and finally finger coordination as the infant tries to "pick up" from a flat surface; this represents neuro-muscular maturation, reaching first with an entire limb in an awkward manner and then concluding with natural, self devised restrictions imposed on the arms facilitating more finite hand/finger aptitude. Time and genes allow for this kind of growth; external interferences can do little under this organic sequence. This paper will explain the different aspects of the perceptual growth of infants.
What do Babies know about the Physical World?
Perception is composed of both experiencing and interpreting the world that an infant live in this is according to some philosophers, psychologists, physiologists and physicists. The infant’s daily experiences increase his or her fascinating perceptual questions. Infants are responsive to binocular and kinetic information by 3 to 5 months of age except they may not be sensitive to static information until about 7 months of age. It is significant to point out, though, that infants younger than 3 months of age probably perceive depth.
A child’s everyday experiences raise the following questions: How do our perceptions come to achieve stability amidst constant fluctuations in the environment? How do perceptions come to be invested with meaning? How are the individual features of things we perceive synthesized into organized wholes? How does the perceptual quality of “bitter” differ from that of “red”? How do we see a three-dimensional world when visual processing begins with a two-dimensional image in the eye?
Perceptual development has served as a kind of battleground between nativists and empiricists, and to illustrate this some studies examine one exemplary skirmish in detail. It concerns the ways infants might come to perceive depth in space. They selected this example for several reasons. First, depth perception is crucial to determining the spatial layout of the environment, recognizing objects, and guiding motor action. Second, the study of depth perception addresses an interesting psychophysical question, namely how infants perceive the three dimensionality of the environment when the retina of the eye first codes information along only two dimensions. Third, debate on this question exemplifies the typical historical course: It began with hotly contested philosophical disputes that spanned the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries before prompting experimentation in the twentieth century. Throughout this time, philosophers and scientists consistently looked to infancy to help decide how depth perception develops.
Experimental studies began to displace philosophical speculation; in fact, experimental psychology, which started only in the twentieth century, was at first specifically organized to address just such issues. Three lines of research exemplify how questions about the origins of depth perception have been addressed experimentally. All three are valuable because no one alone provides definitive information, but the three together converge to sketch how depth perception develops. The starting point for the first line of research was the following observation:
Infants at the creeping and toddling stage are notoriously prone to falls from more or less high places . They must be kept from going over the brink by side panels on their cribs, gates on their stairways, and vigilance of adults. As their muscular coordination matures, they begin to avoid such accidents on their own. Common sense might suggest that the child learns to recognize falling-off places by experience—that is, by falling and hurting himself. But is experience really the teacher? Or is the ability to perceive and avoid a brink part of the child's original endowment?
From these results, they concluded that depth perception must be present in infants as young as 6 months of age. By 6 months, however, children may already have had plenty of experience perceiving depth, the pre-crawling babies by monitoring heart rate when the babies were exposed to shallow and deep sides of the visual cliff. They found that babies as young as 2 months of age showed a decrease in heart rate when exposed to the deep side, indicating increased attention or interest. Thus, babies may perceive depth long before they locomote but show little fear of the drop at that age. The wariness of drops shown by older infants may result from the anxiety parents’ show when infants approach a drop, rather than from actual experience with falls. Infants “socially reference” their parents and use their parents' emotional cues to interpret ambiguous events .Visual cliff experiments represent one way investigators have sought to explore the infant’s capacity to perceive depth. In actuality, three types of stimulus information specify depth, and thus organize this discussion of early depth perception around binocular, static, and kinetic cues. As Descartes and Kant argued, there are at least two bases for perceiving depth because infants are binocular (have two eyes). Because their two eyes receive slightly different images of the visual world, the convergence angle of the two and the disparity between the two images they yield provide some information about depth perception. Binocular convergence provides information only about close-up distances, but it may provide functional information about depth as early as 2 months of age.
Depth perception experiments have demonstrated that infants are sensitive to binocular and kinetic information by 3 to 5 months of age but may not be sensitive to static information until about 7 months of age. It is important to point out, however, that infants younger than 3 months of age probably perceive depth. There may never be a final triumph for nativism or for empiricism. It can be argued that, no matter how early in life depth perception can be demonstrated, the ability still rests on some experience, and that no matter how late depth perception emerges, it can never be proved that only experience has mattered. Nevertheless, the nativism-empiricism debate remains pervasive in the developmental study of depth perception, as well as color, speech, and many other content topics in infant perceptual development.
Physical objects or events arouse the infant’s sense-organs. As a causal result of this, they obtain instantaneous knowledge of their existence and their properties. By immediate knowledge is meant knowledge which is not inferred from, or suggested by, any further knowledge, or any ground or basis for knowledge. This knowledge is not necessarily verbalized knowledge, but it is always knowledge which it is logically possible to put verbally. It is propositional in form. And although such knowledge is immediate, in the sense just defined, it is not incorrigible knowledge.
As a result of the stimulation of the eye, infants acquire immediate knowledge of the size, shape, color and spatial relations of the objects around them; as a result of the stimulation of the skin, they obtain immediate knowledge of the shape, size, temperature, spatial relations, and other properties of the objects in our environment; as a result of the stimulation of the nose, they acquire immediate knowledge of the presence of smells; and so on. After they gain some knowledge of the physical world, this knowledge is accompanied by knowledge of the means by which this immediate knowledge was got (by the eyes, skin, nose, etc.). It is also regularly accompanied by characteristic sensations in the organs being used to acquire the immediate knowledge.
The acquiring of immediate knowledge in this fashion is perception. It may be distinguished from more sophisticated forms of perception by being called immediate perception. But it must be emphasized that immediate perception is not immediate knowledge. It is the acquiring of immediate knowledge, and is therefore an event in the sense that an acquiring is an event.
It is part of the concept of immediate perception that the knowledge acquired is knowledge of the state of affairs in the physical world contemporary with the acquiring of the knowledge. This logical necessity is built on the empirical fact that we never acquire any immediate knowledge of past states of affairs by means of the senses.
The objects and properties of objects that are immediately perceived have an existence logically independent of their being perceived. They may be perceived or not perceived. There are objects and properties of objects that are never perceived, although it would always be logically possible for such unperceived things to be perceived. It is therefore REALISTIC.
Studies prove that the quality of child care have a great impact to the growth and perceptual development of the child. Infants have diverse personalities and temperaments, they develop at different rates. Their self-esteem is an important aspect of their development, that is why parents and caregivers should give them constant praise and encouragement. The following points should be considered in order to help boost the development of a child:
- Communicate to your offspring what needs to be done at that moment.
- Redirect his or her attention or activity by using neutral or positive language.
- Say no while maintaining love.
- Explain the reason for your rule.
- Give limited tasks and be specific in your request.
- Acknowledge children's feelings, but set limits.
- Help them understand how their actions affect others.
- Help kids use words to communicate their frustrations.
- Acknowledge positive behavior.
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